Collingwood’s new Irish recruit unsure if AFL sides should compensate GAA clubs

NEW COLLINGWOOD RECRUIT Anton Tohill has pushed back against the idea that GAA clubs should be compensated by AFL sides who poach their young talent.

New Collingwood signings Mark Keane, Sarah Rowe and Anton Tohill.

Source: Collingwood FC

Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé and Hawthorn’s Meathman Conor Nash both suggested in recent weeks that Irish clubs should be given some form of payment when they lose players to Australian Rules.

But Anton, son of Derry great Anthony Tohill, said it may be a difficult road to go down.

Speaking alongside new Collingwood recruits Mark Keane and Sarah Rowe at a press conference after training on Monday, Tohill told the local media: “It’s difficult for us because I’ve grown up playing a few sports.

“I played soccer and Gaelic football, so who do you compensate? Then can you really say that it was all me going to the Gaelic football club that’s brought me on considering that it was me doing my own work and preparing myself in the gym?

“No-one in the club pushed me to go to the gym and push myself on as much as myself. It’s come from me. So then do you compensate, me? Sure, you can’t do that. 

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Our three @AFL + @CollingwoodFCW Irish recruits, Anton Tohill, @SarsRowe + Mark Keane, have just fronted the media for the first time #FOREVER pic.twitter.com/Mn5tXVR1Em

— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) November 19, 2018

Source: Collingwood FC/Twitter

“So I think it has to be thought out if there was any way of compensation and what would be the correct way to do it.  We’ll just see what happens.”

Anton said his father, who spent time on the books of the Melbourne Demons in 1990, fully backed his decision to chase the AFL dream.

“He was delighted. It was something he was very happy for me to pursue. It’s a lot better lifestyle out here than it would be at home as well, being a professional sport. So he was delighted for me and excited I could do something as good as this.

“I’ve had a bit of exposure to AFL football. He was involved in the International Rules series as a coach and a selector as well so he brought me back my first Sherrin when I was eight or nine and I got introduced to the game then. 

Tohill continued: “I played a lot of soccer and Gaelic football growing up so I fell away from it but then when the opportunity arose to play out here I was like, ‘Let’s give it a crack.’ I stopped playing football for my club around July time to prepare for coming out, so it’s been excellent.

“It’s a great experience. I’ll enjoy it, work hard, put the effort in and hopefully be rewarded.”

Tohill and Cork native Keane have been working closely with former Magpie Marty Clarke and ex-Lion Colm Begley in recent weeks as they prepare for their debut campaign Down Under.

There are now a record 14 Irish male players contracted to AFL clubs, while there are five Irish females currently signed with AFLW sides. 

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